Wanaka volunteers are being sought to assist children at challenging crossings on school walking routes during the summer terms. The initiative is the result of last year’s travel plan working group for Wanaka Primary and Holy Family Schools, where it was discovered that while Mount Iron families were within walking distance of school, Anderson Road and Kings Drive offered major obstacles.
It was decided to trial a system where volunteers were on hand to help children cross at designated crossing points but so far not enough people have come forward to make the trial viable. Queenstown Lakes District Council transport manager Denis Mander says that being a volunteer was rewarding without being too taxing. "We hoped that someone who lived locally might be interested, "he said. "The time commitment isn’t onerous and the instant feedback you get from the kids is just fantastic," he said.
"Everyone loves to see children walking to school, it’s great for the neighbourhood and for the children’s well-being," he said.
Volunteers would not be required to stop traffic, but would simply guide children across the road at the designated crossing points. Full safety training would be given under police supervision. "This kind of idea is often talked about because we see it in other countries and it’s something we wanted to trial locally," Mr Mander said. "It has great potential to connect children to their neighbourhood as well as encourage safe and healthy travel choices," he said.
Anyone who would like to find out more about volunteering or would like to register should phone School Travel Plan Co-ordinator Kirsty Barr on 443 8609. Schools would then insure suitability before the volunteers were deployed to crossing duties.
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